THE Queen has signed off plans to confirm the George Cross — created by her father — is on a par with the Victoria Cross.
A formal statement due tomorrow will end decades of speculation about the order of the gongs.
The George Cross has long been considered Britain’s second-highest honours decoration. It can be awarded to the Armed Forces and members of the public for “acts of the greatest heroism or of the most conspicuous courage in circumstances of extreme danger”.
The VC, introduced by George’s great-grandmother in 1856, is awarded for similar acts “in the presence of the enemy”.
When the GC was instituted 80 years ago to recognise civilian heroism in the Blitz, George VI’s decree said his medal, “shall be worn immediately after the Victoria Cross” — leading people to believe it was less prestigious.
But historians insist — and the Queen has agreed — that it was always his intention to put it on a par with the VC.
Lord Ashcroft said the Honours and Appointments Secretariat had decided the medals are equal.
He added: “I welcome this ruling as I have long admired the cold courage of many GC recipients, including bomb disposal experts. Such men and women risk and sometimes give their lives to save others.”
No one has won both decorations. Were that to happen, the older VC takes precedence when pinned on the chest.